EcoATM is on a tear. The San Diego startup founded last year has developed automated kiosks that enable consumers to recycle their used cell phones and other devices (and get a redemption) was today named the most innovative product in the cleantech category by Connect, the non-profit organization that supports technology and entrepreneurship.
Just last week, ecoATM picked up the $20,000 first-place award in the 10th annual “PitchFest” business plan competition put on by the San Diego Venture Group, a venture networking association. And in November, Coinstar named ecoATM as the winner of its “Big Idea” contest, which included a $10,000 check that was presented to ecoATM’s Mark Bowles at the KioskCom Self Service Expo in New York.
EcoATM’s big idea is to reward consumers who recycle their “retired” mobile phones by providing, in exchange, a “trade up” discount coupon, gift card, or charitable donation to a participating organization. The company’s automated recycling kiosks use patented technology to visually and electronically identify a handset or device, determine its value, and offer a trade-in promotion or redemption. The company installed its first kiosk at the Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha on Sept. 21.
The startup says mobile handsets that are less than two years old retain an average value of $18 at collection and an average value of $50 after they are refurbished. Phones more than two years old retain an average value of $2, and even “end-of-life” phones are worth about 75 cents when smelted to reclaim precious metals. (Consumers can reject or … Next Page »
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